If you have any interest in personal finance, you have probably heard that it’s a good idea to track your spending. I had heard that too, but I resisted because I wanted to do whatever I felt like doing with my money. About two years ago I realized that I needed to put on my big girl pants and actually look at where my cash was going.
I tried several methods: keeping all my receipts in a box; writing my expenditures on an index card every day and filing them in a card box; using my debit card for every purchase and using my check register as the record.
Finally I discovered that the method that worked best for me was to keep receipts until the end of the day and enter the amounts on a spread sheet. You can use Quicken or Excel, but I have to admit I like writing them rather than typing them in.
While tracking spending is important, it is more important what you do with the information. Let’s say that you look back at your spending for the month and realize that you spent $117 for eating out. If you have budgeted $50, you can see that you need to adjust the amount in the budget or adjust your behavior. Your priorities will determine which change you make.
If you have not been recording your spending, why not make a commitment to try it for a month? At the end of the month, look at your totals and compare them with your budget.
You might discover a few leaks in your financial boat, but hopefully you will have found them in time to prevent the ship from going down!
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